Type 2 diabetes prescriptions increase in England, indicating better diagnosis rates

Jack Woodfield
Mon, 10 Oct 2016
Type 2 diabetes prescriptions increase in England, indicating better diagnosis rates
New NHS data reveals that prescriptions for type 2 diabetes have increased by a third in England in the last five years.

But leading charity Diabetes UK insists the results indicate a positive trend in that more type 2 diabetes diagnoses are being made, and less people are being left undiagnosed.

A total of 35 million prescriptions were issued for type 2 diabetes treatments over the last year, up from 26 million five years ago.

The figures, which were collected by data analysis company Exasol, comprised every prescription handed out by pharmacies in England between August 2010 and July 2016.

There are hotspots for type 2 diabetes in London and Lincolnshire. Newham, a London borough, was found to have twice the national average of prescriptions, and Lincolnshire had two of the highest three prescribing areas, East Lindsey and South Holland.

Krishna Sarda, the engagement communities manager at Diabetes UK, highlighted that these areas have done sterling work to raise awareness of preventing type 2 diabetes.

"One of the consequences of doing a lot of prevention and raising awareness is people go to their GPs to get a blood test done," said Sarda.

"So the greater the numbers in the population demographically - and the campaign work that's happened in London and East Midlands - you'll have more people coming into the register as being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.

"It's a very positive thing that people are picking up in the media, our campaign and other campaigns going on. I think GPs are becoming more aware that maybe one of the things they should do for their patients when they come in among other things is to get a HbA1c test done for them."

The data analysis revealed that the prescription of second line drugs for type 2 diabetes has doubled in the last five years. These drugs are normally issued when patients struggle with their management, but Sarda added that it cannot be inferred that patients are becoming sicker.

"It's very difficult with the limitation of the data. But if people have been diagnosed much later on or have other underlying long-term conditions, then metformin, which is a first line drug on its own, may not do the job."

Diabetes.co.uk has noticed a trend in that a growing proportion of people with prediabetes and type 2 diabetes can improve their health and reduce their dependency on medication by following a low-carb diet.

People with prediabetes who join the Low Carb Program can reduce their likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes. Users achieve an average weight loss of 5kg after six months, lose an average of three inches around their waist and increase the amount of exercise they do by an average of 33 minutes.
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